A Concise Introduction to AMCAS Personal Statement

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A Concise Introduction to AMCAS Personal Statement

A Concise Introduction to AMCAS: The American Medical College Application Service is a service run by the Association of American Medical Colleges through which prospective medical students can apply to various medical schools in the United States.

There is more to it, which I will tell you about in this article.

Below is a quick view of the content points that makes up this article

What is it Like to Choose Your Medical School Tool?

The AAMC American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) created this tool to support medical schools’ enrollment management processes and help applicants communicate their intentions about which medical schools they plan to attend.

Schools will only be able to access information about their accepted and alternate-list (waitlist) applicants. Applicants should use the tool in the direction of the schools to which they have applied.

How does this Tool Work?

It is important to review and follow each school’s admission instructions, policies, deadlines, and requirements. We recommend visiting each school’s admissions website, checking the Medical School Admission Requirements website, and directly communicating with the schools to which you are applying to make sure you understand and follow their specific instructions.

Beginning Feb. 19, applicants holding one or more acceptance offers can select “Plan to Enroll” in the AMCAS application at any school from which they have received an acceptable offer. Making this selection allows schools to view in aggregate the number of applicants who selected “Plan to Enroll” for their schools.

  • Until April 30, applicants can, at the time they make this selection, continue to hold other acceptances, remain on alternate lists, and continue to interview at other schools.
  • If applicants receive new offers, they can update their selection at any time, but they can select only one school at a time. A school will only be able to see the aggregate number of their applicants who have selected that school or another school in the AMCAS tool to assist them with their enrollment management.
  • If an applicant selects “Plan to Enroll” at another school, AMCAS will not identify the applicant or the other school.

Beginning April 30, accepted applicants will have two options to select: “Plan to Enroll” or “Commit to Enroll.” Selecting “Commit to Enroll” indicates that the applicant has made a final selection and withdrawn all other applications.

  • Starting April 30, the AMCAS tool will identify the applicants making either selection. This applicant-specific information will be visible only to schools where the applicant has a current acceptance or alternate-list position.
  • If an applicant selects “Commit to Enroll” to a school, all other schools where the applicant also holds an acceptance or alternate-list offer will be notified but will not know the name of the school selected.
  • Selecting “Commit to Enroll” does not automatically withdraw applications from other medical schools. Applicants must communicate directly with all schools about their final decision according to each school’s specific policy.

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) is a centralized application service for medical schools, allowing you to save time by submitting just one application. With over 140 MD granting institutions participating, you’ll likely use AMCAS if you’re applying to medical school in the US.

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While this service does enhance convenience, it also makes it even more difficult to stand out. Most applicants will have similar backgrounds to yours, and the AMCAS personal statement is your biggest opportunity to show who you are as an individual and persuade the admissions officers to choose you.

As part of your AMCAS application package, you’ll be asked to write a personal statement of not more than 5,300 characters. Although it varies from essay to essay, this will give you enough room for an essay of about one page and one paragraph.

This is a hard limit, and the system won’t accept more characters than that, so it is important to keep this limit in mind as you plan and write your essay. Most word processors will give you two character counts, one that includes spaces and one that does not. For the AMCAS personal statement, spaces count as characters.

However, the bigger issue for applicants is that AMCAS doesn’t provide a traditional prompt. You will simply be asked to write an essay about why you want to go to med school. Therefore, what exactly should you include in your AMCAS essay?

Ultimately, that decision is yours, but the admissions officers will be looking for you to show passion for patients and the potential to excel both in medical school and your future career as a doctor. To help, consider these four questions.

Why are you Pursuing a Career in Medicine?

Of course, you are free to answer this question any way you like. However, unless the answer is that you want to make a patient’s lives better, medicine might not be for you. From beginning to end, make sure that your essay is patient-focused.

Also, it is common for applicants to begin their essay with an anecdote from their childhood. In our experience, med schools are only interested in your life after you began college and won’t particularly be impressed with anything before that regardless of how important it was in your path to choosing this career. Instead, choose stories that show the adult you taking concrete steps in the field of medicine.

What makes you an Excellent Candidate to Become a Physician?

Not only do you need a strong academic track record in the sciences, but med schools are also looking for applicants who have developed the personality characteristics that will serve them well as a doctor.

In your essay, you might want to write about compassion, teamwork, and respect for patient autonomy. You don’t need to write about all three, but the anecdotes that you choose should reflect an applicant who has not only technical know-how but ethics and interpersonal skills.

What do you feel that an Admissions Officer Should Know about you that is not Included Elsewhere in your Application?

The other parts of the AMCAS application are highly standardized, so the essay gives you a chance to elaborate on who you are outside of your transcripts, test scores, and activities.

What activities do you enjoy outside of the classroom? How will you contribute not only to study groups but to the student body as a whole?

Are there any Elements of your Application that need Further Explanation or Elaboration?

Life is college is not always smooth, and you might have some areas in your transcript or test scores that warrant further explanation. Applicants can be very apprehensive about addressing these issues within the essay out of fear that what they write will harm their application.

Therefore, when writing about these situations, always be factual about what occurred and then move quickly to how you resolved the issue and have become a more mature and resilient applicant as a result.

Frequently Asked Questions on AMCAS

Ques.: Am I a reapplicant if I withdrew my previous AMCAS application?

Ans.: No. You are not considered a reapplicant if you formally withdrew your application through AMCAS.

Your application may only be withdrawn prior to the verification process when your application is in one of the following statues: “Submitted to AMCAS – Ready for Review,” “Submitted to AMCAS – Waiting for Transcripts,” or “Returned”. See the application withdrawal FAQ for more information.

Ques.: Am I a reapplicant to all schools or only the ones I applied to before?

Ans.: You are only a reapplicant to schools that previously received an AMCAS application from you. For example, if you applied to School A and School B last year, you would be considered a reapplicant at both of those schools if you apply to them this year.

You would not be considered a reapplicant at School C since you did not previously apply to that school.
You will indicate your reapplicant status per school in the Medical Schools section of your application.

Ques.: I applied to AMCAS last year. Do I need to enter all of my information again?

Ans.: If you submitted a previous year’s application and did not withdraw it, most of the information you entered will “roll over” to the current application.
Although your information will roll over, the Main Menu will show all sections of your new application as “Incomplete”.

You must go through each section and confirm that the information is still correct. When you verify that information and click Continue at the end of each section, the Main Menu will show that section as complete. We suggest you print your application from the previous year to see what you submitted.

Please note that if AMCAS makes improvements to a section of the application, you will need to reenter information into this section for the subsequent year’s application cycle.

You will also need to resubmit official transcripts and letters of evaluation to AMCAS for each application cycle you apply.

Ques.: I entered all my information into last year’s application, why didn’t it “rollover” to this year’s application?

Ans.: They only roll over data for applicants that submitted their application for the previous year. If you entered data into last year’s application but did not actually submit the application, then you will need to enter it again into this year’s application.

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